MASON CITY, Iowa - Nursing homes immersed in keeping residents safe during this pandemic are facing significant staffing shortages.
During the 4 weeks ending last month, the AARP's COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard shows that 36% of Iowa nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses or aides. This comes at a time when cases and deaths among nursing home residents and staff are declining, and new infections also declined to less than half of previous levels.
AARP advocate Anthony Carroll says it's a problem that actually predates the pandemic, but the events of the last year have made it worse.
"There's consensus that staffing problems have been an issue, and they're in crisis mode still. This is something you need to have different policies to expect different outcomes."
"Wage is one part of it, calling for guardrails for taxpayer funding that goes to nursing homes. A policy bill that ultimately advanced, but did not pass, is looking at a database that looks at who our local direct care workers are, what trainings they already have so you don't have to retrain."
The dashboard analyzes federally reported data in 4-week increments to get a picture of the coronavirus' infiltration at nursing homes and its impact at the national and local levels.